This week is one of mixed emotions for many Starbucks fans. On the one hand, there's the excitement over the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, which officially showed up again on menus nationwide on Tuesday morning. On the other hand, some Starbucks stores ruined their customers' coffee buzz by simultaneously hitting them with a price hike.
Starbucks isn't saying how many locations have increased prices, nor exactly which items received price hikes. But customers around the country have been reporting—often, with more than a little frustration—that their Starbucks brewed coffees were 10 cents to 20 centers more expensive on Tuesday, while drinks like mochas and lattes instantly cost up to 30 cents extra. Some breakfast sandwiches received price increases as well, and cookies in some locations are now up to 30 cents more expensive.
It is unclear if prices for Pumpkin Spice Lattes themselves have gotten a bump compared to last year. Prices for the beloved fall beverage vary by location, but generally cost $4.25 to $4.45 for a Tall (12-ounce) drink.
As you'd expect, agitated customers headed to social media to vent about Starbucks' price hikes.
The last time Starbucks introduced broad price increases on its beverages was last November, and it did so very quietly—without any press releases or advance notice. The coffee chain has likewise rolled out its new price increases stealthily, and instead has been hyping the return of Pumpkin Spice Latte season, with the posting of an image showing the cult beverage freshly hatched in a nest on a crisp and sunny late-summer morning.
In response to queries from Consumerist and Business Insider, Starbucks says that not all locations have been affected by higher pricing. Only about 10% of Starbucks customers will be paying higher prices, and their bills will supposedly go up only by 0.5%, the company says.
"Pricing is continually evaluated on a product-by-product and market-by-market basis in our stores in order to balance business needs while continuing to provide value to our loyal customers," Starbucks spokesperson Sanja Gould said in a statement.